Dust Mountain - Hymns For Wilderness

18 Oct 2021 - Thorsten

Psychedelia, Folk Rock, Progressive Rock | Svart Records | Release date: 22 Oct 2021

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There must be something in those Finnish waters as the country between Hanko at the Gulf of Finland and Utsjoki in Lapland seems to have found an endless fountain of musical youth spilling out band after band after band. And with Svart Records, located in Turku on the Western sea-front, there is a label that brings those bands onto the international scene. The latest one is Dust Mountain from Tampere, who play a mix of progressive ideas, psychedelic structures and bewitching Folk harmonies. Really enchanting, not for lack of better word, but for the pure, undeniable appropriateness of the word here!

Dust Mountain might be a new band, but the members have experience galore, as they played in bands like Oranssi Pazuzu, Cats of Transnistria, Hexvessel, Vuono, Dark Buddha Rising, Death Hawks or Waste Of Space Orchestra. When looking at this list, the closest to Dust Mountain would be Hexvessel with their Canterbury Scene-affinity and love for folksy Psychedelia. Interestingly, the music on Hymns For Wilderness sound a bit more like a cross between Coven and Hexvessel or Wolvennest and Amon Düül II.

Of course, most of these connections stem from the wonderfully melancholic, dark and sometimes hiding mysterious vocals by Henna Hietamäki and backing vocalist Pauliina Lindell who would not be misplaced in a new version of Fleetwood Mac or Fairport Convention. There harmonies can be clear as the blue winter sky and then again sinister and carefully placed in the mix to create a sort of seductive note as if these are the voices which the Eagles have sung about in ”Hotel California”, the sirens on the rocks between Sicily and Italy or the witches on the Scottish highlands seducing Macbeth into regicide. The music itself is wonderfully melancholic, partially doomy, mostly progressive and folksy with each instrument contributing exactly what is needed in each moment. The instrumentation itself also shows a certain reference for the Canterbury prog scene of the 70s not only using a moog but also a flute (listen to this album, Ian Anderson and be happy about the new successors!). Especially the moog sounds with all their warm embraces create this instant homely feeling that the good records of the era radiated.

Picking one single track on this record is basically impossible as the whole record, consisting of seven tracks and running 43 minutes, is one magic (sound carpet) ride, even if several tracks again show a very singular character, like the comparatively muscular ”Apollo” whose dark bass growls at the beginnings are surely different than the lofty ”Village On Fire” and also not the same as the somehow jazzy final track ”Bird Hymns”. All tracks are like single chapters of a wonderfully interwoven short story collection, take Hemingway’s Nick Adams-cycle for example, where each story is standing of course its own but also deepens the audience’s deeper understanding of the protagonist.

The one fairly recent comparison would surely be fellow Finns Horte (read the review on their wonderful Mann Antaa Yön Vaientaa here) as both bands have a knack for creating a modern version of a genre that many of us have not taken too big of an interest in. Krautrock and Psychedelia never seem to go out of style, but the folk-inspired Prog scene of the early 70s is often neglected. If you ever wondered what The Soundtrack of Our Lives would have sounded like with a female voice or with more folk and less rock elements – Dust Mountain would be your result! This band is pure magic if you allow yourself to fall into it. The author of these lines did and doesn’t regret it at all! And soon a visit to those Finnish waters becomes unavoidable, maybe I can find the fountain of youth, too.